March 15, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen



Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.....what a peculiar title for a movie but what a delightful film it is!

Well, it is actually based from a book of the same title by Paul Torday with a script written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire). Helmed by Cider House Rules director, Lasse Hallstrom who brought together a cast of some of my favorite British actors.

Avid fisherman and wealthy sheikh, Sheikh Muhammad (Amr Waked) hires consultant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) to help him accomplish his vision of bringing the sport of Fly Fishing to his country. Ms. Chetwode-Talbot, is efficient and very effective that she manages to lay down the fundamentals of the project. She hits a stall when she emails fisheries expert, Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) about the project. A science man and a bit socially inept, Dr. Jones thinks that the project is impossible even to the point of being ludicrous. However, the Salmon Fishing project gets a jolt of support from the Office of the British Prime Minister when Press Secretary, Patricia Maxwell (Kristin Scott-Thomas) needed to divert attention from some bad press from Afghanistan. Eventually, Dr. Jones is pushed into the project due to pressures from the bureaucracy and agrees to have a meeting with the Sheikh. Alfred connects immediately with the sheikh through their mutual love of fishing. What follows is the meticulous planning of this grand undertaking.

I have to say thought that as soon as you meet the sheikh on screen, one realizes that it's not just really about a whim of bringing fishing to Yemen but he is indeed a visionary. He brings wisdom and understanding not just about fishing but in life. It's an unexpected experience sitting in the audience because as you realize this, Ewan McGregor's character, Dr. Jones also comes into the same realization. You soak up the revelation, very much like the principal character and one feels like you are also pulled into the story. From then on, I was emotionally invested in the Salmon Project.

I truly enjoyed Ewan McGregor's social ineptness and was engrossed with Emily Blunt's vulnerability. While Kristin Scott-Thomas was perfect as the very hard edged publicity opportunist, Amr Waked was penetrating with his wisdom. Even more enjoyable was that these gems of wisdom were not cliches nor were they hammered into you. It just naturally and unexpectedly trickled down from the screen. Go and try to catch it in the theatres. It's a capitivating story about connection, faith and the power of possibilities.

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